Producing Work at the Highest Level—Is Your In-House Agency Ready?

Most brand teams are eager to create tier-one content. And, as top creatives from the best agencies move to the corporate side, brands with in-house agencies now have the strategic and creative chops to successfully craft this type of work.

What about actually producing it? All levels of production have challenges since producing best-in-class work requires special skills and experience. There are added degrees of complexity. It’s higher risk and higher reward, and getting it right is paramount.

Below are some ideas to consider before you get started.

A-list vendors/partners. It’s a whole different ballgame when finding, choosing and negotiating with sought-after, A-list vendors. Money alone can’t necessarily buy you love—you’ll need a relationship of mutual respect. Deep industry knowledge is critical to navigating the 5,000+ directors, editors, music companies, animation/VFX/GFX houses, etc. It’s crucial that you know each of these players and the specialized skills required to bring your concept to life.

Higher, more complex budgets. Your budget should adjust as the level of expertise and production value increases. What’s the average union shoot day in LA/NY/Chicago/ATL? How much is a good DP? Or, editor? Can we produce the graphics on our own or do we need to find a GFX designer? Answering these questions is of the utmost importance because spending your budget wisely can often mean the difference between “awesome" and “ehh.”

More-complex schedules. Approvals remain vital and there will likely be added steps in the process. Anticipating and building a production calendar that works for everyone is crucial.

Consider a different approach. Increased budget and scheduling complexities can require innovative production thinking. Can we shoot more economically overseas? How is the ethnicity casting in Argentina? What is the budget impact versus time savings of bringing the editor along on the shoot?

Legal, talent and business affairs. With a larger audience comes increased legal scrutiny. Once again, there is more at stake. Are your scripts free of any issues and properly cleared? How do we approach celebrity X and negotiate a good deal? Can we use this poem? Can we employ non-union actors? What are the chances of using this Pharrell song? All of these questions can pop-up regularly during tier-one work and need expertise to answer properly.

Clearances. Clearances for networks and cable are a must. You need to know the various steps, rules and the right contact people to make it happen.

Tax incentives. The list of tax-incentive and tax-credit locations is increasing, but it’s also a varied, ever-changing landscape. Is there an advantage to shooting in Georgia instead of California? Has the Louisiana tax fund run out for the year? Any changes to the New York incentive? There are ways to help your production dollars go further by knowing the market and how to properly utilize film tax credits. 

This list is just the tip of the iceberg. Tier-one work can be crazy, fun and incredibly rewarding if the job is produced and managed properly. At Fixer Partners, we have successfully produced tier-one content for industry leaders like GEICO, Gatorade, Amazon, Walmart and Samsung as well as niche brands like Ancestory.com, Indian Motorcycles and Musselman’s Applesauce. No matter the budget, we are seasoned pros in the tier-one space and we’re happy to connect with you to share our knowledge and experience anytime.

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